News Articles

DR DIGEST: In-state crews responding in Oklahoma, Louisiana

DR crews on the job after powerful winds in northeast Oklahoma

By Bob Nigh/Oklahoma Baptist Messenger

OWASSO, Okla. (BP) – Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) debris removal crews responded quickly after severe thunderstorms and damaging winds knocked out power and scattered debris overnight in at least two areas of central and northern Oklahoma Aug. 13-14.

DR crews were on the scene in both Owasso and Hennessey prepared to assist homeowners and business owners with debris removal. Ryan Deatherage, DR chaplaincy group leader, said chainsaw teams were on the job early on Aug. 14 in Owasso and scheduled to begin work in Hennessey on Aug. 15.

The roof of the children’ ministry area at First Baptist Church in Hennessey was ripped off by intense winds estimated at up to 90 miles per hour.

“The metal roof and the red steel beams that supported it were blown off and actually flew over powerlines and landed about a half-block away on top of a house,” Pastor Shane Bennett said.

Bennett said the church’s sanctuary and several other buildings were not damaged by the storm, adding that the church is acting as a base of operations for the Oklahoma Baptist DR volunteers.

Kingfisher County Emergency Management officials also set up a shelter for people in Hennessey at an old gym on the town’s Main Street.

In the Tulsa area, power outages were reported in several areas following strong surface winds that reached more than 80 miles per hour as a storm intensified near Verdigris and Owasso just after midnight Aug. 14. Owasso police reported that some roads were closed because of downed power lines and debris across roadways.

For more information or to donate, visit okdisasterhelp.org.

Louisiana Baptists minister following wildfires

By Baptist Message staff

FLORIEN, La. (BP) – Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief crews and churches responded quickly to those impacted by wildfires in Sabine Parish east of Florien Aug. 14. They are contained at this time.

While the situation remains very serious because of wind direction and changing weather conditions, the wildfire was contained Monday evening. However, officials cautioned that flare-ups could ignite new fires in the area.

The state’s Department of Forestry worked throughout the night clearing lanes to further control the fire.

Churches that opened their doors for evacuees to have access to food and a place to cool down included First Baptist Church, Warren Baptist Church, Ebenezer Baptist Church and Antioch Baptist Church (all in Florien), Grace Assembly, Hornbeck, and Trinity Baptist Church, Many.

A Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief shower trailer arrived Monday, and a feeding unit was en route Tuesday morning to First Baptist Church, Florien.

“Pray for first responders in this heat,” Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief strategist Stan Statham told the Baptist Message. “We will be feeding others, so monetary donations would help. Food is expensive.”

District 8 Baptist Convention Coordinator Ron Thompson asked for continued prayers and thanked churches and disaster relief teams for their quick response.

“Thank you, Louisiana Baptists, for responding to the physical needs,” Thompson said. “And please keep praying for the spiritual needs of families who lost their homes yesterday.”

To donate to DR efforts, visit louisianabaptists.org/dr.

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